January 30, 2023

More people have died due to suicide in Baguio alone since the community quarantine started in March compared to deaths due to the Covid-19, the City Public Information Office reported.
There are 10 cases of Covid-19-related deaths in the Cordillera, while there are 14 cases of suicide-related deaths in Baguio alone from March to August.
From January to August, the total number of deaths in the city due to suicide reached 18.
Dr. Donnabel Tubera, head of the City Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit of the City Health Services Office, said suicide cases are expected to increase as some might not have been reported at the Office of Civil Re-gistrar yet.
Data from the Department of Health-Cordillera further showed that from January to June, there were 51 suicide attempts in Baguio alone. The age range is between 13 to 70 years old. There are 15 males and 37 females who attempted to commit suicide.
Depression is said to be main cause of the attempts to end their life.
DOH-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said the suicide cases cannot be attributed directly to the quarantine, but she said staying indoors for a long period of time increases the anxiety of an individual.
She said this explains why prior to the declaration of a lockdown in Luzon, the National Center for Mental Health has opened a hotline where people can seek consultation.
As an intervention, Constantino said local government units should also have a hotline where residents can consult anytime, anywhere.
“It is important that people who are anxious, those who have psychological or emotional issues, to have someone to talk to, and be assured that there is someone who will listen to them,” Constantino said.
One of the interventions being thought of by the city government is to open parks and to resume the pedestrianization of Session Road to allow people to have some form of recreation.
Apart from recreation, counseling services may be availed of at health centers, according to Asst. City Health Services Officer Celia Flor Brillantes.
She said the CHSO also has a 24-hour hotline to cater to those who cannot and do not have the time to seek for consultation at health centers.
The CHSO has also commissioned a group of psychologists who reached out to barangay officials who showed anxiety disorders.
In May, the city council asked the City Human Resources Management Office to hire on job order basis psychologists to assist residents and barangay officials who have been exhibiting stress and anxiety because of fear of infection from a disease; due to exhaustion for working in the frontlines; and because of isolation.
In the 2018 Philippine Mental Health Act, primary mental health services are integrated at the city, municipal, and barangay levels.
Mental health services at the community level include wellness promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation through peer support, education, livelihood, and employment, social services, and other community support services. – Rimaliza A. Opiña